Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Sunday, December 15, 1963

Alpha Television Studios, Aston, Birmingham

Following its success with the June 29th all-Liverpool edition of Lucky Stars (Summer Spin), ABC' Television this day shot a second such programme for the main series Thank Your Lucky Stars. All of the acts were Merseysiders, and Cavern Club compere Bob Wooler appeared as part of the reular "Spin-A-Disc" record review section. Taped in Aston during the afternoon, it was transmitted on Saturday, December 21st, from 5:50 to 6:35 pm.

Making their English TYLS appearance of the year (counting the two Summer Spot editions), the Beatles mimed to four songs, the most they had performed on this show to date, "I want to hold your hand", "All my loving", "Twist and Shout", and "She loves you". They were also presented, on camera, with two more gold discs to add to their quickly growing collection.

This edition was selected as ITV's official entry in the next annual International Contest For Television Light Entertainment Programmes, held in Montreux, Switzerland, in April 1964, but it did not win.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Saturday, December 14, 1963

Wimbledon Palais, High St. Merton

Wimbledon, London

The Beatles Southern Area Fan Club's equivalent to the Liverpool festivities the previous Saturday. In addition to their mid-afternoon live performance, the Beatles lined up behind the Palias' bar and shook hands with all 3,000 ecstatic fans who filed slowly past them, often in less than orderly fasion. Television and cinema news cameras filmed here and there throughout the event.

The management of the Palais, fearing their precious stage might be damaged by an onslaught of rampaging Beatlemaniacs, created a makeshift platform for the Beatles and erected a steel cage around it to keep the hordes at bay. Though safe, the Beatles were not best pleased with this arrangement, although seeing the fans crushed up against the wire prompted John to crack "If they press nay harder, they'll come through as chips".

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Friday, December 13, 1963

Gaumont Cinema, Southampton

The final date on the long "Autumn Tour" which had started in Cheltenham on November 1st.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Thursday, December 12, 1963

The Beatles performing at the Odeon Cinema, Nottingham

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, December 11, 1963

The Beatles performing a the Futurist Theatre, Foreshore Rd. South Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Tuesday, December 10, 1963

Gaumont Cinema, Doncaster

In their dressing room at the Gaumont, sometimes straining to make themselves heard above the shouting and singing fans outside, the Beatles gave an entertaining interview to a British-domiciled Australian broadcaster, Dibbs Mather, for overseas distribution by the BBC's Transcription Service (and not for domestic broadcast). Extracts from the interview - which also featured John reading "Neville Club", a piece of poetry to be published three months later in his first book "In His Own Write", were included in the 61st edition of Dateline London and also in the 453rd edition of Calling Australia, sent to any radio station in that country which paid the BBC's nominal subscription.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Monday, December 9, 1963

Odeon Cinema, Southend-On-Sea

Once again, a TV news crew, this time from the BBC, interviewed the Beatles in their dressing room. It was becomin a regular occurrence.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Sunday, December 8, 1963

Odeon Cinema, Lewisham, London

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Saturday, December 7, 1963

Empire Theatre, Liverpool and Odeon Cinema, London Rd. Liverpool

The Beatles' first home-town concerts in four months were part of an exceedingly hectic day. The afternoon was a special affair, a concert at the Empire Theatre before 2500 members of the group's Northern Area Fan Club, though the rest of Britain had a chance to view the action when BBC Television, in an unprecendented move, screened 30 minutes of the show later the same evening in a special peak-time programme entitled "It's the Beatles!"

Earlier the same afternoon at the Empire, utilizing the same fan club audience, the BBC also taped a special edition of it's weekly "Juke Box Jury", with the panel comprising all four Beatles. This too was transmitted that same day, not for nothing were sceptics moaning that the BBC really stood for Beatles Broadcasting Corporation.

"Juke Box Jury" came first, being taped from 2:30 to 3:15 pm for broadcast between 6:05 and 6:35 in the evening when it was viewed by 23 million Britons. Chaired as usual by David Jacobs, 13 new singles were reviewed in this particular edition, "I could write a book" by the Chants, "Kiss Me Quick", by Elvis Presley, "The Hippy Hippy Shake" by the Swinging Blue Jeans, "Did you have a happy birthday" by Paul Anka, "The Nitty Gritty" by Shirley Ellis, "Do you really love me too" by Billy Fury, "There! I've said it again", by Bobby Vinton, "Love Hit Me" by the Orchids, "I think of You", by the Merseybeats, "Broken Home", by Shirley Jackson, "Where have you been all my live", by Gene Vincent, and "Long Time Ago", by the Bachelors. The last three were omitted from the broadcast, however, in order that it did not overun. The Beatles voted all to be hits except for Paul Anka, Shirley Ellis, Bobby Vinton and the Orchids.

The concert, taped for "It's the Beatles" took place between 3:45 and 4:30 pm, the group singing a shortened "From Me to You", then full versions of "I saw her standing there", "All My Loving, "Roll Over Beethoven", "Boys", "Till There was You", "She Loves you", "This Boy", I want to hold your hand", "Money", "Twist and Shout", and a reprise of "From Me to You". It was broadcast from 8:10 to 8:40 pm. Unfortunately for the BBC, technical difficulties created by the dearth of rehearsal time (a mere 15 minutes for "Juke Box Jury" only 20 for "It's the Beatles" and worse still, the incessant ear-perforating screams from the audience, drowning out the director's instructions to the cameramen and sound recordists, all but ruined both programmes. There was considerable consternation about this within the higher echelons of the Corporation, executives feeling that the coup it had achieved in presenting the Beatles so exclusively to the nation had somewhat rebounded against them in that the technical shortcomings were obvious and embarrasing.

And still the Beatles had one more duty for the BBC: they recorded a two minute interview for broadcast on radio on Christmas Day in the Light Programme show "Top Pops Of 1963", a 90 minute special (6:00-7:30 pm) in which disc jockey Alan Freeman played the year's number one chart singles, interspersed with interviews with some of the artists.

After their activities at the Empire, the Beatles dashed the 50 yards down a specially closed and police reinforced Pudsey Street to the Odeon Cinema where they gave two more performances as part of the continuing package tour (this date added to the tour itinerary after the inital press announcement).

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Friday, December 6, 1963

Last day for a Beatles break......